Jim: What have you been up to Andrew?
Andrew: Last week I got to cast and direct a commercial for a national company! As an actor, it was enlightening being on the other side of the camera and seeing the whole filming process from that angle. I have a new appreciation for actors, directors and writers.
I also released an e-book for anyone wanting to give some form and structure to their creative work. It’s based on a blog post from earlier this year titled Ten Commandments for Creatives in which I provide a framework for creatives to help them create, sustain and grow their artistic works.
After putting Ten Commandments for Creatives up on my blog, I had a number of my readers ask a few questions about the commandments, wanting me to explain and expound further. That became the grounds for the e-book and people are loving it!
J: Can you share what the 10 Commandments for Creatives are?
A: Sure! Though modified slightly in the e-book, the original ten are as follows:
1. Give space, time and energy to your creativity
If you don’t, your space, time and energy will go to things you don’t value.
2. Creating is an act of worship.
Not creating is self-centered and selfish.
3. Your creativity is a gift given to you.
4. Date your artist.
Most of your best ideas come unexpectedly.
5. Don’t be an expert.
The minute you believe you’re an expert, you stop learning from others.
6. Jealousy is the death of creativity.
7. Don’t give up. Don’t give up.
Don’t give up.
8. You have what it takes. . . now.
‘Later’ rarely happens.
9. Authenticity breeds beauty.
Create from your core.
10. Want what you already have.
Utilize your current resources.
J: Which commandment do you struggle with the most?
A: Depends on the time of day! I suppose that’s the same for most any creative person, Jim. We can be a bit of a moody bunch, and that’s all the more reason to adopt these tenets as part of our creativity practice.
I would say numbers one (give space time and energy to creativity) and six (watch out for jealousy) are things I always have to keep an eye on.
Number one is all about taking time. Ever tried to build a house in a day? It doesn’t happen. What about making a prize-winning wedding cake in 20 minutes. No way. Taking time is so important. We need to take a breath break to not just create, but to absorb. We must create and we must also consume in order to be able to create. Many creatives are driven to the extent of burnout. Creating an environment where our creativity can flourish and giving it the time that it needs is so imperative to the creative process.
Number six is also a kicker. I’ll find myself comparing myself to other people–actors, writers, singers–you name it. It’s easy to get caught up in the energy-sucking vortex of jealousy. Luck for us, jealously vanishes when we choose to celebrate and promote others rather than wallowing in those envious feelings.
J: What area do you feel you are doing pretty well in? (and why/how are you doing well?)
A: The breakthroughs I’ve seen in this past year are attributable to following commandments 7 and 8.
Commandment seven is the bulldog mentality of getting your work done. I will not give up. I will not give up. Bring on that little engine that could. In the last year I’ve eliminated one phrase from my vocabulary completely: “I’ll try.” I just don’t say it or even think it anymore. I won’t try. I will. Someone else may be a better actor, writer, speaker or blogger than me, but I can guarantee that I’ll outlast them all. Why? Because I won’t give up.
I also think commandment eight has great meaning. I used to think like this:
- I’ll create when I take this class .
- I’ll create when I have the time .
- I’ll create when I get this gadget .
There’s no better time to create than now. I may never take that class, have the time or get that iPad (still want one, don’t need one… or do I?), but I can start right now. I can work now. And it’s so very rewarding when I do.
J: How do you fill up your “creative tank’?
A: The short answer to that question is this: I go to the a candy shop, look at all the candy, and eat some of the candy. Seriously, candy is art. It also helps that I live nearHershey,Pennsylvania!
The longer answer: If I compared my life now to my life two years ago, I know it would look different in these ways:
- I don’t watch as much TV as I used to.
- I spend more time talking to other creatives (in person and online). Talking with other creative’s always fills up my ‘creative tank.’
- I read more and write more.
- I make more mistakes. I celebrate the mistakes!
- I treat myself to quality rather than quantity.
J:What encouragement can you give to other creatives, particularly those who are struggling?
A: That project you have on the shelf. In that shoebox. On your hard drive. On that easel. Wherever it is, pick it up. I dare you to make some more mistakes. I dare you to fall flat on your face. Go right now. Seriously go and pick up that project. Because amazing things happen when we work, when we infuse our life into our creative efforts. Connections are made, truth gets exposed and sometimes something indescribable happens: you change something in someone else. It’s magic!
Here’s the amazing thing: you’re not just creating for you. We need what only you can offer. That book, that piece of music, that work of art. Someone needs what only you can create. Now go make it happen.
Now in the comments I’d like to play a game I just invented called “Stump the Creative”. Throw your most difficult creative question (or just any creative question you have) and both Andrew and I will help you* with it.
Go ahead, fire away. We’d love to answer your question!
*Note- It is very likely that Andrew will recommend you eat more candy and I will recommend you eat more chocolate chip cookies.